Standards for Assigning Grades in the Classroom

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  • 00:00 School Mandates
  • 1:20 Weighted Standard
  • 2:08 Point Percentage Grading
  • 3:04 Grading on a Curve
  • 4:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson discusses the different standards available when assigning grades. It specifically highlights weighting grades, the point percentage standard, and grading on a curve.

School Mandates

Despite what some students might believe, teachers don't just hand grades out willy-nilly. Quite the contrary, an effective educator spends a good deal of time mulling over the standards he or she will use when assigning grades. To go over some of these options, today's lesson will take a look at standards to be considered when assigning grades.

The first standard to be considered when assigning grades is in no way an optional one. To state it simply and directly, grades must adhere to the policies set forth by your school. In other words, your grading standards must fall in line with what the guys at the top have decided. If your superintendent says grades will be calculated using a standard percentage, your grades better be calculated by percentage. If the school board says grades must be weighted, then your grades better be weighted. What is decided at the top must be adhered to by the middle and the bottom. It's just how the system goes.

Now, if your higher-ups haven't gotten that involved in the grading process, you have some leeway. Since there are many, many options to choose, we'll spend the rest of the lesson discussing a few of the most popular. Also, like most things in education, these standards can go by different names depending on the educational institution.

Weighted Standard

As an educator, you may choose to use the weighted standard of grading. Describing this very simply, it's making some graded components count as more than others. Used by educators all over the place, weighting allows educators to place greater emphasis on certain activities.

For example, this semester, I'm teaching a graduate education course. Since one of my objectives is to have students engage in meaningful discussions, I have weighted discussion forums as 70% of the final grade. Yes, I do want them to know some key terms and facts, but since it's not as important as the discussion component, these more traditional activities will only make up 30% of their final grade. In short, the tests and quizzes just won't carry as much weight, hence the term 'weighted standard of grading.'

Point Percentage Grading

Many educators also choose the no-frills point percentage grading standard of grading. Familiar to almost anyone who's a product of public education, this one simply entails all graded activities being added together then divided by the total number of points available. Tests don't count for more and class participation doesn't count for less. Here's an example:

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